Charlie Whittington, owner of the Kwik Kar oil-change shop in Plano, TX, no doubt accepts the promise in Hebrews 1:9 that “God, even your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows,” but he wants to throw in a discount oil change for good measure. Whittington has achieved national notoriety by offering customers an oil change for $19.99 if they recite a Bible verse to him or his staff. They must recite John 3:16: “For God so loved that world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
There is nothing in the Constitution that bars an owner from favoring Christians or people willing to read Christian passages.
Customers must choose between satisfying Whittington’s religious condition or paying full price. In one account, a customer was declined to read such a passage, so his oil change went from $19 to $42.
In an interview with Glenn Beck, Whittington explained to a thrilled Glenn Beck that “Man, I just was tired of all the bad things that was discussed and I just wanted to talk about something good in my life.” He talked about it by requiring customers to recite his favorite Biblical passage to receive a discount. It is a curious response to the teaching of Jesus who “entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple.” Apparently, he would have been delighted if the same people left the temple and then offered weekly deals based on his teachings. “Naamah is crazy, crazy, crazy, for the man from Nazareth. Recite a teaching today and get a half priced money change and a free pigeon!”
I particularly like how the account of the interview says “he has gotten some pushback for the policy, but that it’s come only from people who call or e-mail.” Well, if is is ONLY from people to call or email (rather than drive to his store) it must be just fringe elements. They then add “For him, it’s about the spirit of the promotion, not the letter of it. How biblical.” Was that spirit of the promotion or spirit of promotion?
When Beck’s co-host Pat Gray asked if he could discuss Wicca with Whittington, Beck became enraptured by the response: “You could talk about anything. Golly, we’re in America, you can talk about anything you want to.”
Beck responded: “Hang on just a second. May I just say to the entire United States of America: that last sentence from Charlie is why everyone should move to Texas. Because it’s common sense. This is total common sense. This is who we are as America.”
I wonder what Beck would say when another mechanic offers a discount for anyone who recited the Koran or a dry cleaners asked for recitation of Bhagavad Gita.
Of course, this may be a difference of interpretation of passages like 1 Samuel 16:13 “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, a . . . and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah [for a brake job].”